PHONE giant BT has been criticised for its refusal to remove four phone boxes that are allegedly being used by addicts and prostitutes.

It is claimed that the cluster of payphones near McDonald's in Boscombe Precinct is regularly used for antisocial activities and hindering efforts to regenerate the area.

Boscombe West councillor Chris Wakefield has asked BT to remove the phone boxes, but was told they were used regularly and removing them would be unfair on people who use them legitimately.

After he continued to press BT to take action, the phone company would only offer to remove two of them if the council or police were willing to bear the cost.

Cllr Wakefield has hit out at their stance and accused BT of being more "concerned with profit" than helping tackle antisocial behaviour. He said he now planned to start a campaign to get the phone boxes removed.

In a letter to BT, he said the issues surrounding the phone boxes have increased.

"The local authority and Dorset Police have spent a great deal of time and scarce resources in this area of Boscombe of late and we would expect you to become part of the "solution" rather than being profit driven and aiding and abetting drug dealing and prostitution," the letter states.

"There are a number of new businesses that are investing in the area and I would not want them to fail as a result of your lack of community support."

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood has also written to BT asking them to remove the four phone boxes and Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill now plans to do the same.

A BT spokesperson said: “We’re always willing to help local policing teams address problems associated with anti-social or criminal behaviour in or near our phone boxes. But we don’t see removing phone boxes as the solution to problems of this nature.

"We’d prefer appropriate action to be taken to address the behaviour of the offending individuals. Otherwise they’re likely to repeat the behaviour at another location.”